Lufthansa remains optimistic
AS 2011 comes to a close, Joachim Steinbach, vice president, sales and services, Southeast Europe, Africa & Middle East/Pakistan, Lufthansa says that it hasn’t been a walk in the park, but Lufthansa is still expecting to close the year on a positive note and post a solid year-end result. However, he adds that in view of an increasingly depressed global economic outlook and great uncertainty across Europe, much work will be essential to increase efficiency and lowering our unit cost.
“Lufthansa records positive trends on its Middle East routes, in part due to recent schedule enhancements, like the upgrade of the Doha-Frankfurt service to a daily non-stop product. Lufthansa also boosted its capacity on the Abu Dhabi-Frankfurt service. Our new First Class cabin is also very well received by our customers. Customers can enjoy the new product on our Airbus A380 flagship and we are also refitting the cabins of our existing long haul aircraft, including our Airbus A330, A340 and the Boeing 747,” he adds.
Speaking about the region, he says that some markets were and remain heavily impacted, among them Egypt and Libya.
“In Libya we had to suspend operations altogether. Others like Tunisia recovered relatively quickly. Overall, we’re still looking at positive year-end results for the region, and we remain confident that the countries most affected will find stability and return to a prosperous future.”
“What’s important is that we continue to be true to our promise: We put the customer centre stage and provide individual caring. We offer a high quality product with good value for money. In all this we aim to demonstrate leadership and drive innovation. That is what gives Lufthansa Passenger Airlines edge over our competitors,” added Steinbach.
On the economic front, Steinbach realizes that 2012 will be a challenging year. “What’s happening in Europe particularly is hampering demand. At three per cent capacity growth for 2012 as a whole we are still growing moderately, but slower than originally planned.”
This winter, Lufthansa added three new destinations to its route network: Rio de Janeiro, Aberdeen and London Gatwick. From October 30, 2011 the airline serves 198 destinations in 82 countries, as compared with 197 destinations in 83 countries in 2010/11. Available capacity during the winter timetable period across the entire route network was increased by four per cent compared with the previous year, largely due to the use of larger and more fuel-efficient aircraft types that have joined the Lufthansa fleet since last winter.
For summer 2012, 30 new destinations will be served from Berlin which includes 28 new European destinations and two Middle Eastern destinations. This means an increase in the number of scheduled Lufthansa take-offs and landings in Berlin to more than a thousand a week in the 2012 summer flight timetable, representing a rise of 35 per cent. Also this summer, Lufthansa is adding Qingdao and resuming operations to Shenyang, both dynamic cities in China, from Frankfurt. Next spring, Lufthansa will open a new terminal building, offering more flexibility and room for growth at their main hub airport.
Currently, Lufthansa Group has on order 202 aircraft, valued at a total of more than €19 billion ($24 billion) at list price and scheduled for delivery between 2011 and 2018. This also includes 15 Airbus A380s scheduled for delivery through 2015 and also has 20 Boeing 747-8i on order planned for delivery from 2012 to 2015. This year, the airline will introduce an all-new Business Class on the new Boeing 747/8i and on three new Airbus A330 and gradually to the entire fleet. Lufthansa also introduced FlyNet, the faster, smarter, more powerful broadband internet connection on routes to the Middle East. Through FlyNet, passengers from any cabin class can access high-speed broadband internet via their laptops, smartphones or tablet PCs. On ground, Lufthansa is on a roll in investments in lounge facilities and other ground services.
“We remain cautious about 2012 largely due to the imminent effect of the global financial crisis. We are also not discounting future political turmoil, prompted by general discontent from citizens on their own national economies. We are preparing ourselves for the possible effects,” added Steinbach.